Saudi crackdown on illegal residents, workers sees over 2.6 million arrests

The kingdom has warned of strict penalties for hiring and sheltering illegal residents



More than 2.6 million people have been arrested in Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom’s ongoing round-up of illegal workers and residents, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The kingdom’s campaign to detain people for residential, labour and border security regulations has been underway since November 2017.

According to the latest update – which recorded data until Thursday, February 21, a total of 2,666,916 people have been arrested.

That includes over 2.07 million for violating residency regulations, 407,966 for breaking labour laws and 80,575 for border rule violations.

The latest count indicates that over 160,000 people have been arrested in the last three weeks.

Read: Over 2.5 million illegal workers, residents arrested in Saudi crackdown

According to the report, 45,022 people were arrested while trying to illegally enter the kingdom including nationals from Yemen (51 per cent), Ethiopia (46 per cent), and other countries (3 per cent).

Meanwhile 3,403 people were arrested for their involvement in transporting and harbouring the violators. That included 1,095 Saudis, of whom 1,070 have been released and 25 are currently in detention as authorities implement legal proceedings against them.

Among the violators arrested, 674,952 have been deported to their respective home countries.

While 455,098 have been transferred to complete their travel reservations, 365,397 people have been referred to their respective diplomatic missions for travel documents.

The number of expatriates who are still detained stands at 11,525, including 10,132 men and 1,393 women.

Earlier this month, Saudi authorities warned that anyone found to be hiring, transporting, or sheltering people violating the kingdom’s residence, labour and border regulations will face strict penalties including fines, imprisonment and a ban.

The Saudi General Directorate of Passports announced that those caught will be jailed and fined a maximum of SAR100,000 ($27,000).

Violators will face a prison sentence of up to one year and a ban for up to five years.

If the company’s manager is an expatriate, he/she could also face deportation and the fine amount will be multiplied by the number of violators.

Read: Saudi warns of strict penalties for hiring, sheltering illegal residents